By wayout440

January 21, 2014

8 years ago

I am a professional electronics technician for 25+ years. I used to play a bit of pinball as a boy, some as a teen, later as an adult in a local arcade called Space Invaders a small circle of me and my friends would play. One of our favorite games was Cyclone. The era of video games and home systems eventually meant the end of the Space Invaders arcade, and pinball went off my radar.

A friend from that circle had over the years become employed by a gameroom business, mostly moving billiards tables. He invited me on a trip to PAPA, and near that time told me he had bought the Cyclone from Space Invaders. Not just a Cyclone...THE Cyclone, the actual machine we played throughout the years. He stored the game at my brother in laws house because he did not have space in his apartment. He told me the game had become broken and now was basically unplayable and asked me to look into repairing it. We agreed that the best way to do this was simply to take the pin from my brother in laws house to my basement where I could work on it at my leisure.

I did some online research, downloaded the manuals and schematics, bought some parts online, and eventually restored the entire game to fully working condition. One of the problems that I fixed was the dead score displays. I put the game on free play and quickly found that there was no need to set the credit award to free play, after all - it's already free. I changed that setting to something else - perhaps it was to award a score. Whatever setting that was, also turned off the knocker.

Now here's the humorous part to me. My friend who owned the machine comes to play it for the first time in a very long time and begins to play a game, at the end of the game realizes it is the high score but stands looking at the machine with a face of disappointment for a moment. Then bewildered shouts out "WHERE'S THE KNOCK?". Calmly I explained that the knocker works, and that it would go off on a match...it was just disabled in the settings by my choice. He says to me "You don't understand, long before the game became completely unplayable the displays went out. The knock was the only way we actually KNEW we were playing well."

I babysat Cyclone for a few years, enjoyed its humor, it's way of taking me back to an earlier time. Eventually that game went back to its owner. That was the stepping stone that got me into the crazy hobby that is pinball ownership.


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